The reason I focused on this report is because Google is measuring social signals with regard to search engine rankings, so it’s important that you understand how the report works.
In this post, I want to show how a good blog can help you increase these social signals — signals that increase search rankings and traffic and thus inquiries and leads.
A good blog — that is, one that you’re consistently maintaining — does three things for you.
1. It helps your content get found in the search engines and brings targeted traffic to your site.
2. It helps increase engagement — something Google is measuring.
3. It shows your expertise and authority within your industry. More importantly, it helps people decide if they want to move forward with doing business with your company.
What follows are my five strategies for creating a thriving blog that meets these objectives.
1. Keep your blog on your Website
When blogging first became mainstream, circa 2006 or so, blogging experts recommended that you create a blog on a separate domain. At the time, this made sense; some people believed having a blog on a separate domain helped with SEO (as it linked to your main Website) while others believed that since a blog was its own entity, similar to a magazine, it should have its own domain.
Now however, it makes much more sense to keep your blog on your Website as one, maintaining two sites is a lot of work; two, you capture all that blog traffic on one site; and three, you keep your “link juice” pointing to one domain rather than two.
Personally, I like reason number two best. When my separately maintained blog began to outstrip my Website in terms of traffic in 2008 or so, I merged the two and never looked back. Today, my blog is the main driver for traffic, with some posts written over two years ago still bringing in hundreds of visitors each month.
2. Create content geared toward your prospects
In order to drive targeted traffic to your blog (and thus Website), you want to create content that your prospects will find helpful and interesting, such as:
- How-to Tips
- Reports and E-books
- Insight into industry challenges, changes, and news
My colleague, Derek Edmond of KoMarketing Associates, for example, wrote a post, “5 Key SEO Action Items for B2B Marketers Optimizing for Mobile.” This detailed post shows KoMarketing’s expertise as well as garnering social media visibility in the form of RTs, +1, Likes, etc.
Because the post is a little more technical in nature (in other words, it’s not fluff), it appeals to KoMarketing’s target audience — mid-size and enterprise B2B companies for whom mobile is a concern. (Also note how the blog is part of KoMarketing’s main navigation and Website.)
3. Optimize your blog content
In the “old” days of SEO, people spent a great deal of time optimizing blog posts and other content around keywords. Now that Google has implemented “Not Provided” and is now penalizing keyword-stuffed content, strict optimization according to specific rules no longer applies.
However! It still pays to give each of your blog posts a unique Title and meta tag as one, it helps your content get found by searchers, and two, it makes your content render well when you post it to G+, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
The screenshot below shows one of my Facebook posts where I link to one of my blog posts. Because I added a Title and meta description tag (which you can easily do through WordPress SEO plugins), you can see what the post is about — and whether or not you want to read it.
But, look what happens when you leave these two fields blank — ugly:
Implementing Google Authorship is another way to optimize blog content. With Authorship, your picture appears next to your content in Google’s search results — which helps increase click-throughs. (Read my post, How to Get Your Picture to Appear in Google’s Search Results, for how to get this up and running.)
4. Promote your content on social media
By promoting your content, you alert others that it’s available and thus increase shares, RTs, +1s, etc., which amplifies those important social signals.
Promoting your blog content has another benefit as well. When people come to your blog, a few will leave comments. Again, this is another important social or “engagement” signal that Google measures. And, if you use the social commenting tool, Disqus, Google is tracking the comments through the Google Analytics Social Report, as Disqus is one of its Data Hub partners.
(See how it’s all tying together? I love this stuff!)
5. Repurpose blog content into e-newsletter content
This, my friends, is my favorite tactic because I’ve found it to be incredibly effective. Because not everyone follows blogs or even social media (yes, it is true), they’ll miss out on the great content you’re producing. Let them know it exists by using it in your e-newsletter.
You can then send people back to your blog / Website where they can leave a comment or share the content with their social networks — as well as dig deeper into your content to see how you might be able to help them.
In short, a consistently written blog full of helpful content gives you a triple whammy.
1. Your helpful content geared toward your prospects gets shared and passed around. Amplified social signals helps improve search rankings.
2. Your content gets found by your prospects as they do searches and draws them to your site — where, oh hey, they find your reports and case studies and product information, too.
3. As people dig down into your site, they realize you can help them solve a particular challenge — and they either sign up for your e-newsletter (where they then get your helpful content on a regular basis), download a report or sign up for a demo or trial.
And that is how social, search and a blog work together to help drive inquiries and leads.
I hope you found this series of posts helpful. If you have questions, please post them in the comments section and I’ll be happy to answer them.